Saturday, April 4, 2015

Dogfights with the devil

John Boyd was a fighter pilot at the end of the Korean War, and became one of the most innovative military thinkers of modern times. Towards the end of his life he worked in the Pentagon as a full colonel, designing fighter aircraft, and developing highly effective war strategies. 

Some years after having flown in the Korean War’s MIG Alley, where fighter jets engaged in dogfights, he was still bothered by something that did not make sense to him. Russian MIG-15 fighter jets had suffered severe losses compared to the American F-86 Sabres throughout the war. For every 10 Russian MIGs that were shot down, only one American Sabre was lost. It seemed strange because the MIG was a better plane! It could fly higher, and faster, and could turn sharper than the F-86. The US military credited the lopsided kill ratio to the Air Force’s superior training of its pilots, which was partially true, but Boyd knew that there had to be more to it.

What he discovered, were two major areas where the US jets were superior: The F-86 had hydraulic controls (powered), and its pilots wore pressure suits to better handle the crushing G-forces of transonic flight. The Russian jets had neither. These two differences enabled US pilots to switch from one maneuver to the next much quicker than the MIG pilots, and the ability to stay sharp and alert in the middle of intense battle. They had a huge advantage over the enemy’s seemingly better plane.

The devil’s tactics are constantly changing and if we don’t learn to identify them and make quick, smart decisions in response, we risk loss, wasted time or needless pain. This holds true for business, jobs, marriage, family and most importantly, faith.  Faith is what gives us the peace and sharpness of mind to focus on what is essential, to be able to maneuver smoothly and powerfully out of the devil’s attempts to shoot us down. Faith is the protective “pressure suit” that keeps us safe from the devil’s crushing attacks of our emotions and thoughts. He can threaten us with a thousand falling at our side, and ten thousand at our right hand, as Psalm 91 says, but faith determines that it will not come near us – and it doesn’t.

This equipment of faith is only available to those who allow themselves to be taught by the Word of God, to be trained in righteousness – even as rigorously as a fighter pilot. The devil is not lazy. He never rests. He’s never satisfied with the number of people he’s destroyed, and he’s always changing tactics. If we aren’t alert to his games and ready to act quickly to snuff out negativity and temptations, we’re guaranteed to get hurt, or to drift away from God completely. When God speaks through His Word, through circumstances or through people around us, we need to have ears to hear and the courage and wisdom to act. 

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17 HCSB)

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